Author

Steve Horwitz

Steve Horwitz has 1 articles published.

Steve Horwitz
Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. He is spending the 2016-17 academic year as a Visiting Scholar at the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State University.
Economics

We Didn’t Humanize Markets, Markets Humanized Us

Over Labor Day weekend, I saw many friends arguing that labor unions and government intervention “humanized capitalism” by giving us the 8-hour workday, the 40-hour workweek, ending child labor, and so forth. Unfortunately, these folks have their history backward. The wealth produced by capitalism allowed us to indulge our humanitarianism in ways not possible when we were on the edge of survival.We didn’t humanize capitalism, it humanized us. The wealth produced by capitalism allowed us to indulge our humanitarianism in ways not possible when so many were living on the edge of survival. You can’t have 8-hour workdays, 40-hour work weeks, and no child labor, until the material conditions exist to make such changes feasible for a large number of people. Workers didn’t work long hours, and kids didn’t work at young ages, because employers held a gun to their head. And they didn’t do it because they loved to work hard, long, uncomfortable hours. Keep Reading

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